Best Credit Cards While Backpacking (updated July 5, 2014)

Backpacking has been a very common way to travel for a long period of time as it allows you to visit different places at very affordable costs. But there are still great ways to maximize your return through a good credit card.

While backpacking, there are different ways to pay for items, including cash, traveller’s cheques or credit card. If you do plan to carry a credit card on you, there are two credit cards that I would highly recommend; the Chase Amazon Visa and Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card. Below are the highlights of each credit card:

Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate upon approval
  • Earn 2 cents for every $1 spent on Amazon.ca purchases
  • Earn 1 cent for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card

  • $120 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • No charge for additional cardholders
  • Earn 30,000 points after your first purchase
  • Earn 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-4 location after account approval
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Marriott hotels
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on airline tickets, car rental agencies and restaurants
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 15 nights credit every year
  • Receive 1 anniversary bonus free night stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year

The main sell for both credit cards is that the foreign transaction fees are waived. Right away you are already saving the 2.5% foreign transaction fee.

The Chase Amazon Visa is for people who do not want the hassle of dealing with an annual fee. What makes the Chase Amazon Visa great is that once you reach $20 worth of cash back, it automatically credits your statement. So if you are away for an extended period of time, you do not have to worry about getting a check in the mail that you need to deposit, it is completely hassle free. The Chase Amazon Visa is also the type of credit card that you can continue to hang on to even after you come back from your trip, since there is no annual fee, you can keep it around for as long as you want.

I also included the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card because this would be a great credit card to get just before you start your backpacking trip because the first year annual fee is waived. So if you know that you are travelling for several months in a row, but less than a year, then you can get this credit card right before you travel. Then you can bank a lot of Marriott points while you are away. Then when you are backpacking and you feel like you would not mind splurging, then you can use some of those Marriott Rewards points for a reward night.

The Marriott Reward points could also be used as an emergency fund while you’re on your trip. If for some reason you have trouble finding a suitable place to stay or something happened to the place that you are staying, then you can easily check into a hotel using your points.

Whatever you decide to do, I just wish everyone safe travels!

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